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How to Pay Delayed Zakah

24 September, 2023
Q Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. I did not pay zakah for several years and my daughter fell seriously ill. Can this be a punishment for not paying zakah? What should I do?


Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

  • Zakah is the right of the poor on the wealth of the rich and it must be paid on time, since delaying it is prohibited according to Islamic Shari`ah.
  • Delaying the payment of zakah incurs a severe punishment from Almighty Allah, unless the person repents to Him and seeks His forgiveness.
  • Therefore, you have to count all delayed zakah that you should have paid and distribute this amount.
  • Illness is not a punishment for not having paid zakah.

In his response to your question, Prof. Dr. Monzer Kahf, Professor of Islamic Finance and Economics at Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, states:

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First of all, you have to know that zakah is one of the pillars of Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), said, “Islam is built upon five pillars: testifying that there is no true god except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, performing Prayer, paying zakah, making the pilgrimage to the Sacred House (Hajj), and fasting the month of Ramadan.”(Al-Bukhari)

 In sha’ Allah both you and your daughter will be rewarded for the illness and pain you are going through. Be patient and take the appropriate medicine.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) told us that all the painful incidences a believer undergoes will add to his or her rewards or reduce the effects of bad actions. Illness is not a punishment for not having paid zakah.

What you can do now is to estimate the amount of delayed zakah and pay this amount as soon as you can and as much as you can along with repenting and seeking forgiveness from Almighty Allah. You should also try to do good deeds as much as you can, such as prayers and especially giving charity, no matter how small it may be, because it protects the person who gives it from the Fire.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.

About Prof. Dr. Monzer Kahf
Dr. Monzer Kahf is a professor and consultant/trainer on Islamic banking, finance, Zakah, Awqaf, Islamic Inheritance, Islamic estate planning, Islamic family law, and other aspects of Islamic economics, finance, Islamic transactions (Mu'amalat). Dr. Monzer Kahf is currently Professor of Islamic Finance & Economics at the Faculty of Economics and Management, Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University, Turkey